Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights.
NHL Predictions With Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights
Seattle Kraken vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 0 Panthers
After coming off an unsuccessful road trip where the Florida Panthers went winless in four. The Panthers came back home to Sunrise where they rebounded with four straight wins. The Panthers remain the only undefeated team at home (11-0) and will provide a big challenge for a Seattle Kraken team that hasn’t had much of any success while on the road (1-6-1).
The saving grace for the Kraken is that the Panthers all-star forward Aleksander Barkov remains out of the lineup with a knee injury. The Panthers have been scoring at will this season, especially at home. The Kraken will need to dig deep to find a way to keep up with a high-octane Florida offence that will look to score early and often in this one-sided matchup.
Prediction: Florida wins 4-1
Ottawa Senators vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 1 Kings
This season, the LA Kings have been really consistent, whether it be at winning or at losing. The Kings started the year on a six-game losing streak, then followed that up with seven straight wins; and now are in the midst of a five-game slide for an overall record of 8-8-3. This team is either all-in on winning or losing. The Kings would like to see the wins not separated by such long losing streaks. They get a great opportunity here tonight to right the ship against a struggling Ottawa Senators team that’s on the second part of a back-to-back.
The Senators are still reeling from a Covid-19 outbreak that took out multiple players and personnel. Side-lined with Covid still is forward Drake Batherson, who will likely make his return to the line-up on December 1. And to make matters worse, defenceman Josh Brown is out with an upper-body injury for the next month. Ottawa hasn’t had much go right for them this season. They will continue to be a matchup other teams will look forward to on their calendars.
Prediction: LA wins 5-2
Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 1 Penguins
This is the second meeting in a week for these two clubs, and the last meeting was all Penguins. Pittsburgh came into the Bell Centre and ran the Montreal Canadiens out of their own building with a score of 6-0. Pittsburgh is on a roll as of late with five straight wins, conceding only two goals to go along with three shutouts. Tristan Jarry and the Penguins defence have done an excellent job shutting down opponents.
With nine goals in their last five games, the Montreal offence has cooled at the wrong time against a Pittsburgh team that has dialed it in on defence. Defenceman Joel Edmundson is looking to return to the lineup this weekend, which will provide a nice boost for Montreal’s backend. But it won’t do much to boost their offence. Artturi Lehkonen has been a nice offensive surprise as of late and leads the Canadiens with eight points in his last nine games. Montreal will hope that scoring touch continues into tonight’s matchup as they look to rebound from last Thursdays embarrassing 6-0 loss.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins 5-1
Buffalo Sabres vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0 – 1 Red Wings
This is a battle of two teams that performing better than expected but still can’t seem to crack that .500 mark. Both the Red Wings and Sabres halted four-game slides with impressive wins in their last games. The Red Wings last had a winning streak on November the 9th and the Sabres haven’t strung at least two wins together since October 28. Both these teams have the opportunity to get a winning streak going tonight.
Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson most likely gets the nod tonight after Dustin Tokarski had a casual 25 save effort in his 4-1 win against Montreal last night. Anderson has had decent numbers in the backup role with Buffalo. He will face a Detroit team that has been stellar at home. The Red Wings are 6-2-2 in their arena this year and have averaged 3.1 goals-for per game. I don’t like Buffalo’s chances coming into this one having played the night before. I’m predicting it to be a tight game but for the Red Wings to take advantage of a tired Sabres squad and pull away in the third.
Prediction: Detroit wins 4-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Oilers 1 – 0 Golden Knights
Tonight’s feature game comes to us courtesy of the high-flying Edmonton Oilers and the always entertaining Vegas Golden Knights. The first meeting between the two was a hard-fought battle of the two Pacific Division foes, which saw Edmonton come away with a 5-3 win. Tonight, Edmonton looks to get back to the top of the division whilst Vegas looks to leapfrog Anaheim and get into the third spot for the first time this year.
Edmonton has struggled as of late with injuries to defencemen Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekkoek. Duncan Keith is also day-to-day after sustaining an upper-body injury in the Oilers’ last game. So needless to say, Edmonton’s blue line is pretty thin. Edmonton has had a chance to bring prospect Philip Broberg into the lineup to help fill some holes on defence. But he’s still a long way off of what Darnell Nurse provides for Edmonton.
His pairing with fellow youngster Evan Bouchard hasn’t provided much shut down capabilities as opponents have exposed the two in their last couple of games. But those are the growing pains of being a rookie. We all know that Edmonton can outscore any opponent. So if the defence gives up more goals than expected, the offence will have no problem picking up the slack and carrying the load.
One Returning Player
The Vegas Golden Knights finally saw the return of star forward Max Pacioretty. He had been sidelined since the second game of the season with a foot injury. The 33-year old winger came back in a 5-2 winning effort on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators, recording one assist. Vegas struggled with injuries to Max and Mark Stone to start the year, but with a healthy lineup now they will are sure to be a force to be reckoned with. The Vegas power play continues to be atrocious. It is operating at 10.9% on the year (which surprisingly isn’t the worst in the league). It hasn’t clicked in the last five games, despite having 12 opportunities. The addition of Max Pacioretty into the lineup will surely give their powerplay a much-needed boost.
As hard as it is to go against Edmonton this year, the defence and goaltending have been suspect the last few games. I’m going with Vegas at home.
Prediction: Vegas wins 5-2